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Spelling Bee

June 4th, 2006

Wacky Girl is and always has been a spelling fiend. Even more so after watching Akeelah and the Bee. Which I have seen referred to recently not by name, but as “a Starbucks-produced film.” Which it was, but whatever, hello, say the name of the picture, would you? It’s a great film, and it was awesome to be able to take my six-year-old to a film that we both enjoyed, that was inspirational without being sappy, and that starred people who weren’t white.

Good God, was that so much to ask of Hollywood? Hollywood, what the hell is your problem? You know I dislike Tom Cruise, Hollywood.

Thank you. And now, a few spelling words… starting with…

“C-R-O-Q-U-I-G-N-O-L-E: Croquignole. (Fr.) A hair waving thingy.” (Sorry, that’s what I wrote down.)


“L-O-P-H-O-P-H-Y-T-O-S-I-S: Lophophytosis. (Latin, I’m guessing?) A contagious skin disease of fowls caused by a fungus.”

It took us three and a half hours or something completely unreasonable to watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee the other night. (I taped it and we watched it on Friday.)

“R-U-B-A-S-S-E: Rubasse. A variety of quartz colored ruby red by its iron-oxide content.” (Definitions courtesy of The American Heritage Dictionary and Websters Online Dictionary and moi (Fr.), Wacky Mommy. My children are my gems. Rubasse.

Wacky Boy is not completely into the spelling thing. He refuses to even attempt to write his own name, much less any other words. He knows how to spell his name, though. And he has recently agreed to dress himself. Which is good, SINCE HE’S FOUR. Have you ever tried to get a young boychild to watch a spelling bee? Don’t bother.

“S-Y-N-U-S-I-A: Synusia. Any component of a community of one or more species, belonging to the same life-form.”

He was completely out of it, let’s say. Jumping around on the cushions to the patio furniture, which have a home in the office when it’s raining and they can’t be outside. (Yes, this is a pain, but I have nowhere else to keep them.) He makes the pillows into a merry little trampoline and boing-a, boing-a, boing-a. Also likes to dig his heels into my ribs, much as he did in utero. Also likes to jump on his dad from behind while screaming, “Aiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!” Also likes to hit things — dog, cats, plants — with sticks.

“W-E-H-R-M-A-C-H-T: Wehrmacht. (Ger.) The name of the German armed forces from 1935 to 1945.”

He is not the funnest person with whom to watch a spelling bee. Especially because we were trying to guess the correct spellings by scribbling them down on a pad of yellow legal paper, only we kept messing up and saying, “What? What was the letter?”. Also, WG Must Erase Or She Will, Like, Totally Die. I kept telling her, “DRAW A LINE THROUGH IT. IT’S FASTER.” etc.

Wacky Dee kept shouting, “I can’t hear!” which is what he says constantly when he’s watching the telly with any of us. Which is why he rarely watches the telly with us. So we banished them, and WD Sr. and Jr. went off to build marble mazes which really is more their speed.

Highlight of the evening was:

“H-E-C-H-S-H-E-R: Hechsher. (Hebrew) The formal granting of certification, usually by an authorized rabbi, that a product is certified as kosher.”

The contestant, Saryn Hooks spelled it correctly BUT THE JUDGES DIDN’T HAVE IT SPELLED CORRECTLY ON THEIR STINKIN’ LIST! This was awesome, because they are supposed to be perfect and flawless and all. More perfect, even, than the perfect, obsessive-compulsive spellers and their parents. I am sad to say I identify with them, being somewhat OCD myself.

“K-A-M-A-A-I-N-A: Kamaaina. (Haw.) A longtime resident of Hawaii.” (Would not fit in in Hawaii as I am freakishly tightly wound.)

Judges realized their error, called her back to her seat and OMG, the tears! The joy! The nyah-nyah-nyah-ness of it all. Take that, judges. According to the announcer, “Upon examinating that four-and-a-half-inch thick dictionary, they realized she was right all along.”

He said “examinating.” Which made me love this spelling bee even more.

Stop. Scribble. Rewind. Scribble. Rewind. Play.

“S-P-H-A-C-E-L-A-T-E-D: Sphacelated. To die, decay, or become gangrenous.” Blech.

I spelled two of 8,000 words correctly; Wacky Girl spelled one correctly and came amazingly close on half a dozen others. I was impressed.

“T-0-W-H-E-E: Towhee. Cute lil finch.”

She missed this one, though. I did, too:

“G-U-I-L-L-O-C-H-E: Guilloche. (Fr.) An ornamental border formed of two or more curved bands that interlace.

Congrats to Jersey Shore Girl Katharine “Kerry” Close who took home top honors and $42,500 in money, prizes and scholarship cash. The winning word was…

“U-R-S-P-R-A-C-H-E: Ursprache. (Ger.) A parent language.” How apropros.

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